Russian air strikes kill 120 Syrians since start of campaign

More than 300 Russian air strikes, conducted in Oct., kill at least 120 civilians in Syria’s western region of Homs province

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A man walks on the rubble of a damaged site hit by Russian air force on Reef al-Mohandeseen area in the western countryside of Aleppo, Syria October 21, 2015.

At least 120 civilians have been killed in more than 300 air strikes conducted by Russian warplanes that targeted six towns in Syria’s western Homs province this month, according to a local activist.

"Russian attacks led to the displacement of more than 25,000 people in northern countryside of Homs," local activist Abdel Mohaymen al Homsi told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

"Russian warplanes committed four massacres [in October], including one in which they targeted a shelter in the town of Talbiseh, killing 40 people," Homsi said.

"Another 17 people were killed when Russian warplanes struck a bakery in the town of Tair Maalah," he added.

Russian warplanes had also targeted two Free Syrian Army (FSA) bases, leading to the death of 30 fighters, Homsi added.

From the beginning of Oct., Russia has been carrying out extensive aerial bombardments in Syria, the main target of which, Moscow insists, has been the ISIS militant group.

However, a number of Western countries along with Syrian opposition fighting factions have accused Russian forces of targeting civilian residential areas since the launch of their air campaign in an effort to bolster the presence of the Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad.

In addition to targeting civilian occupied neighborhoods, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) has accused Russian warplanes of repeatedly targeting hospitals.

The Human Rights Watch released a statement on Sunday about the bombings in Homs earlier this month that "indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks are serious violations of the laws of war that Russia has an obligation to investigate," suggesting that the bombings appear to be war crimes.

The Russian Foreign Ministry replied to report released by the Human Rights Watch as "another piece of disinformation."

An FSA commander, Jihad Abo Muslim, spoke to AA, stating "But despite the Russian air support, regime forces backed by allied militias have made no gains on the ground in northern Homs.”

"In fact," he added, "they’ve suffered substantial losses."

According to UN estimates, the ongoing conflict in Syria has claimed more than 250,000 lives since it began in 2011, and displaced 7.6 million people internally and 3.9 million people externally.

Syria has become the world's single-largest source of refugees and displaced people, which has also made neighboring Turkey, the world’s largest refugee-hosting country, hosting more than two million Syrians.

TRTWorld and agencies